What is Professional Clubfitting?
Tom Wishon, Technical Advisor to the PGA and the most celebrated golf club designer in history, had this to say about professional clubfitting:
“If your car is dirty and trashed out, you can pull it into the driveway, hook up the hose and spray off most of the surface dirt and grime. On the other hand, you can do a better job washing your car by filling a bucket with soapy water and scrub off all of the dirt with a sponge. Or, you can pull out all of the stops and not only scrub the outside of the car, but wash, wipe, vacuum and detail the inside as well and finish with a wax and buff job. Yet all of these can be considered to be ‘washing your car’.”
”Custom clubfitting is very much the same way. There are different options available in the golf business, all which are termed by some to be a “custom fitting.”
Because 98% of golfers really don’t know what constitutes a professional custom fitting, it’s easy to think you’re getting the ‘full detail job’ when you’re really ending up with only a ‘hose job.’
Professional Custom Fitting is not answering five or six questions on a web site to be ‘fit’.
Professional Custom Fitting is not a cart filled with different golf clubs sitting in a pro shop or on the practice range.
Professional Custom Fitting is not attending a Demo Day at your local driving range and hitting clubs until you find something you like.
Professional Custom Fitting is not something that can be accomplished from start to finish in 20 minutes or less, regardless if you are hitting balls on a launch monitor.
Professional Custom Fitting is not done by altering a limited number of specifications of an existing standard made set of golf clubs. (This process is known as “retro-fitting.”)
Professional Custom Fitting is not buying a driver with an adjustable hosel that can only alter two of the thirteen key clubfitting specifications and only within a very limited range of options.
Professional Custom Fitting IS working one-on-one with a trained custom clubmaker to analyze all your individual swing characteristics to accurately determine all 13 key clubfitting specifications for ALL 14 golf clubs in the bag. Professional Custom Fitting IS having all 14 of your golf clubs custom fit and custom built from scratch, in the same manner as a tailor making a custom suit, with every one of the key fitting specifications fit to your size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics . Professional Custom Fitting IS the domain of the serious, professional clubmaker who ‘lives, eats and breathes’ all of the technical information available which will allow him or her to accurately match each golfer’s swing to the best fit set of golf clubs. It is NOT the domain of the sales clerk or club professional in a retail golf store or pro shop.”
Golf clubs sold off the rack in pro shops and retail golf stores are pre-built to a series of standard specifications because this is the only way the big golf companies can sell the volume necessary to achieve the highest level of sales. Golf is admittedly a difficult game to master, but it is made more difficult when a population of golfers who are anything but standard makes the mistake of buying golf clubs which are mass produced to one series of standard specifications.
Don’t make the mistake of buying golf clubs on the basis of the brand name, model name or what pros play that brand. Nor should you believe the myth that custom fit golf clubs only help low handicap golfers. Professionally custom fit golf clubs are proven to enable golfers of all abilities, and especially those with a handicap between 12 and 25, to be able to play to the best of their abilities.
What about a fitting at one of the “big” stores (Golfsmith, Dick’s, and other similar stores)?
You will be limited to exactly the club combinations they have, most of which will be standard in most respects. You may get a choice of flex, length of shaft and grip size. They might even measure your fingers in determining the right grip size. (By the way, most professional fitters don’t believe in that approach any more. The grip should feel good to you—if it’s a bad fit, it probably won’t feel good to you. People with small hands don’t necessarily need small grips. The same applies to people with large hands.)
An important consideration and an added benefit to working with a profession clubfitter/clubbuilder is that the same person who fits you is the one who builds your clubs. And just try to get an MOI matched set of irons at a big box store! Be sure to read the other links on Fitting!